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Saturday, February 20, 2010

My media of choice.

I have and will always consider myself a gamer, but for the longest time I did not really have an outlet for gaming news. I tried reading different publications such as Game Informer, Game Pro, IGN, ect, and never particularly cared for the articles. They always seemed biased and favored larger companies, such as Montreal, Epic Game, and Capcom because these companies paid more advertising dollars. As a result, when independent developers such as Altus, Level 5, and Silicon Knights released a title they did not get the ranking they deserve. I grew resentment towards these game magazines, because they would rant and rave about how great a title was, and I would buy it based off this information. I found myself wasting money and time on products I really did not like. In addition, these magazines never really had intellectual discussion that I was searching for in gaming news, they readied on an eight-grade level. In addition, when other readers would submit questions or comments to these publishers they would make a joke out of it. A perfect example is the time my friend Justin mailed a letter to Game Informer regarded article he readied. I won’t go into the details of what my friend asked them, but he had very strong points and facts. Game Informer took his letter butchered it and made him sound like a fool. I felt this way until early 2007. That is when a former friend told me about a Podcast. A Podcast is a digital medial file released episodically and downloaded from the Internet.
The first Podcast I ever listened to was 1Up Yours, after that I was hooked. I started reading the magazine published by 1Up called, Electronic Monthly Gaming or EGM for short. This caused me to branch out towards specialty Podcast such as Retronauts, which caterers towards old school games. An important fact to bring up is that I was working at Laurel School as a prep cook. I hated everything about the job, the people, the work environment, and the redundant arguments I would get into with coworkers. The only thing that kept me sane was listening to these Podcasts. Whenever I was having a bad day at work, I could just throw my headphones on, and it was as if I was in a different world. What I like the most about the Podcast, like 1Up Your, and Retronauts, is how realistic, understanding, articulate and intellectual the conversations are.
A perfect example of what I mean, was when Assassin Creed came out, every other game publication over glorified it to be this spectacular gaming experience. Game informer, Game Pro, IGN, and other magazine companies gave this game a perfect score. EGM, on the other hand, spoke the truth, and said “it sucked!” “It was repetitive” and a terrible game. I bought it. I played it, and they weren‘t lying. Another good example of 1up’s non-biases views is the argument over Street fighter Vs Blaze Blue. Both excellent titles in their own ways, but when I would read reviews or articles by IGN or Game Pro. It felt like they would makeup an opinion for whichever game they like the most, or whichever one paid them the most money. Don’t me get wrong it’s not necessarily a bad thing but the topics they would choose to base their arguments on were redundant? By redundant, I mean one editor would argue one game has more characters’ while the other would argue one game has too much of a repetition of the same character. Not that these aren‘t good facts it’s just that they’re irrelevance facts. Because Street Fighter is a game that’s made to cater towards the hard-core fan base and the casual fan base vis-à-vis Blazed Blue caters only towards the hard-core audience. Instead of them building their arguments on these kinds of facts, they keep the conversation on something insignificant such as character size or which game has the most levels.
EGM is now my main source when it comes to any gaming news, and I will not go to any other web site or buy any video game without reading a review from 1Up.com. After a while, I started to go to 1Up for other related news that was going on around the world. 1Up did not change my life until late December. At my job, I got into the argument with a coworker about dishwater, (yes dishwater). The coworker’s name was “The Cornel”. I became so upset, I went off yelling and cursing him out in an ignorant tangent. My boss sent me on break early to cool down, and I remember sitting down, listening to the 1Up Yours. Listening to them talk not just about video games, but something they were passionate about, helped me out of this psychological nightmare. I thought, here I am making nine dollars an hour, and arguing with a man named “The Cornel” about Dishwater.And here every day I listen to the members of 1UP faithfully as they make more money than me, arguing about something that’s important to them. I thought to myself you couldn’t take that away from them even if you kill that person they would die doing something they care about, something they were passionate about.
I remember listening to episodes, they would go so off-track, from video games, movies, TV shows to books and really degrading the conversation down to someone making a joke about “Boners” and the entire time they have my undivided attention they managed to keep me engaged in the conversation.The most influential episode I ever heard was between 12-19-2008 and 01-22-2009, and was by far was the best six hours I have ever listened to anything in my entire life. I did not realize the company was bought out until the very last episode. It was the most memorable episode ever heard in my life. I felt like I was their. As if I personally knew these people, I listen to it every week. Though they lost their jobs the entire time doing that Podcast, they all sounded so damn happy. Sometimes I wish I was there so I could ask them if they could go back in time would they do it all over again. I always believed they would say yes, because even though they lost their jobs they were doing something they were so damn passionate about. I had epiphany that morning, while listening to that final episode.
As the final episode reeled towards the end, I had a heightened sense of reality, and stop wiping off that damn table. I started looking out towards the sky and asking myself what I am doing with my life. The members of 1Up Yours I listened to on a weekly basis, had lost their jobs. They were still happy; they knew things would work out because they had something they were passionate about. I realized what I was missing from my life, and the following day I put in my two-week notice. I decided to go back to school so I could find the happiness I heard listening to those Podcast and reading the reviews off the web site. That’s how a small blog site change my life.
Dezmond Mitchell


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